(OTTAWA) – Six years ago today, the Green Party of Canada won its first seat when Elizabeth May defeated a sitting Conservative Cabinet minister. With exceptionally high voter turn-out, nearly 75 per cent, voters in Saanich-Gulf Islands elected Elizabeth May as their Member of Parliament. In 2015, she was re-elected with 54 per cent of the vote and nearly 80 per cent voter turnout.
Prior to this one electoral win, it was assumed that the Green Party, with support across Canada, could never win a seat due to the perversity of the First Past the Post voting system. Since then, Greens have won seats in the provincial legislatures of British Columbia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. Green leaders Andrew Weaver, David Coon and Peter Bevan-Baker all won by defeating sitting cabinet ministers – and all with very high voter turnout.
As many people believed Greens could never win a seat as believed that one MP could accomplish nothing in the federal parliament. Here again the accepted wisdom was wrong.
Ms. May's accomplishments over the last six years include:
- Passage of her private members bill for a Federal Lyme Disease Framework, passed unanimously in the House and Senate;
- Reversing the Harper administration’s decision to close the federal research facility in Saanich-Gulf Islands, the CFIA Plant Health Centre, which in this year’s budget has been allocating $8 million in upgrades;
- Presenting more amendments to legislation than any single MP in history, including leading the charge against the 2012 spring omnibus budget bill C-38;
- Working consistently for climate action, holding both the Harper and Trudeau administrations to account;
- Being the first MP to spot the dangers in C-51, the Harper administration’s so-called public security law;
- Standing alone in 2011 as the only MP to oppose continued bombing of Libya, now widely recognized as a tragic mistake that destabilized the region and assisted the rise of ISIS;
- Being the only MP to register as an intervenor before the National Energy Board and make a final argument against the Kinder Morgan pipeline;
- Successful advocacy for millions of dollars of grants for firms and scientific research grants on southern Vancouver Island;
- Dedicated work on the Special Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reform from June – November 2016, never missing a hearing or meeting, with 31,000 kilometres travelled and 60 committee meetings held;
- Speaking more often than any other MP in Parliament;
- Assisting over 1,000 constituents (and some people from outside the riding) to resolve issues with the federal government;
- Maintaining the commitment to consult constituents on a regular basis, holding two rounds of town hall meetings in nine locations every year, as well as Teen Town Halls in local high schools;
- Developing a community housing Round Table process, convening a wide spectrum of concerned parties, including elected representatives from four municipalities, the CRD, provincial government, non-government groups, real estate agents, architects, the Chamber of Commerce, developers and major local industries and employers, working collaboratively to increase housing options from low-income social housing to affordable workforce housing;
- Setting a standard for decorum in Parliament, having never once heckled or interrupted outside the rules of the House.
With the upcoming May 9th election in British Columbia and Nova Scotia on May 30th, the federal Greens wish the best to citizens of those provinces. This track record shows that electing Green representatives means you never have to say you’re sorry.
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